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Redesigning Menus With 4.1

Let’s use the A/R application as an example. The main menu has 5 options on it: Transaction Processing, File Maintenance, Reports, Services Charges and Monthly processing. These would be ideal as pull down menus, with the options on each of those menus as options on the pull down menus. The File Maintenance menu probably contains options to list files as well as maintain them. Since the list options are rarely used, we can dispense with them on the new menu. They can be added as optional children to the appropriate input processes and attached to the toolbar using the new GUI options. We will also rename the Transaction Processing to Daily, and have sub menus underneath that. In other words, under Daily we will have options for Invoices, Cash Receipts and Adjustments. Attached to each of those will be options for Entry, Journal and Post.

The easiest way to visualize this is to create a spreadsheet that lists all the options, and the group with which they should be associated. Put a column for the option number, Label, Group and Shortcut key. For example, the first item on the list would be an option that simply has the label ‘Daily’. This will become pull down menu for Daily processing. Underneath that, put another option that just has the label ‘Invoices’, and belongs to the group ‘Daily’. This will become the ‘Invoices’ option underneath the ‘Daily’ pull down. Now add a third line with the label Invoice Entry, and with a group of ‘Invoices’. This will be the Invoice entry option from the ‘Invoices’ menu. List the remaining Invoice options the same way, i.e., Invoice Journal, Invoice Printing and Invoice Post. Then add another line where the label is Cash Receipts, and the group is ‘Daily’. This will become the second option under the Daily pull down menu. List the various Cash Receipt functions, all with a group of Cash. Receipts. Repeat this process for the rest of the options in A/R. The spreadsheet approach will also give you an opportunity to assign option numbers, group name and Shortcut keys in a meaningful way. Shortcut keys only have to be unique for the menus on which they are located, not across all possible pull down menus.

Once you’ve got them all listed, add a new menu to your application, entering the label and group names for each option into the GUI attributes as you go. When you run the menu, you’ll have one menu that shows all the options for A/R. Here's what the complete menu should look like:


   Click for larger image

You will notice that your menu image may looks empty, since all the options are under the pull down menus. In our case, we put our company logo as menu wallpaper, and added some copyright information. The 'Enter Command' field is a menu shortcut.

NOTE: There are 2 known problems in 4.1.3 regarding menus. First, the option number is treated as a one byte unsigned number, so if you use option numbers greater than 128 (as we have done here), those options will appear first in the list of options (they will be treated as negative numbers). This does not seem to affect anything. A second problem has to do with the way order the pull down menus appear. Normally, the main pull down menu headings appear in option number order, but it seems that APPX has trouble sequencing options numbers greater than 100. In our case, the options are:

0 - Daily
60 - Reports/Inquiry
90 - Maintenance
110 - Monthly
130 - Refunds/Service Chgs

APPX orders them this way:
0 - Daily
110 - Monthly
130 - Refunds/Service Chgs
60 - Reports/Inquiry
90 - Maintenance

It seems as if it is treating the sequence number as an alpha field instead of numeric.


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